More than just ONE Day for Mama O!

I have to admit that I enjoyed several special treats over an extended Mother’s Day! It was a relatively quiet weekend for us, just staying close to home, but we packed in a lot of family fun. Here are the highlights:

Saturday morning we headed to our favorite nature center for a family hike.  We FINALLY enjoyed beautiful spring weather with temps hitting the low 70’s.  Every time we hike these trails the kids are able to hike farther and discover new things along the way. It’s fun to share in their excitement and wonder of nature.

going for a family hike Mother's Day weekend

Our view from the side of the lake and energetic hugs from my kids!

After enjoying the trails, we ventured back to the nature center to check out the animals (snake, turtles, rats) and relax in the rocking chairs.  My kids decided to page through books they found on the coffee table.  I gladly picked up a magazine and leafed through it as well. It was quite peaceful for about 10 whole minutes!

reading at the nature center

Post-hike: My little readers

We went home for some downtime and got ready for our family date night – the first time we had taken the kids to a Japanese restaurant, my favorite date night location. (I also write about my memories of being an intern at a Japanese company for one summer in this post and this one too.) Both kids loved the edamame.  While they munched, I discussed the best roll options with Daddy O. – the Fujiyama roll, Happy Roll, something with Unagi (eel) and maybe a Philly Roll.  Little brother chimed in, “Do they have a Tootsie Roll?” So adorable!  “No, honey, not at this restaurant.”

I ordered the kids a Katsu-don (breaded chicken over a bowl of rice), and it went over pretty well.  I was impressed with their willingness to try new things for the most part – (my four year old was a champ) and had fun feeding them a few more bites at the end of the meal with chopsticks. I can foresee a return trip to this place! YAY!

We walked down the strip mall (real high end dining, right?!) to a frozen yogurt place for dessert. This place was also a hit!  I especially loved the futuristic seating and backdrop – perfect for my impromptu (and obligatory) mother’s day photo shoot.

fun with pictures at the frozen yogurt joint

How cute are we?! Isn’t this the best backdrop?

Sunday brought more delicious food – chocolate covered cannoli – at the Italian bakery and hot ham and rolls that we ate on our back porch. I was treated to more good things – being outside, gardening, playing, and taking a nap in the afternoon while watching The Little Mermaid.

On Monday I assumed it was business as usual, as both Daddy O. and I headed to work. I picked the kids up from school and was surprised by their beautiful presents (that were left at school over the weekend).

Mama O's Mother's Day Gifts

Mama O’s Mother’s Day Gifts

I love the cards, handprint flowers, painted pot, and the small jar of bath salts (not pictured here).  It was really sweet – and kudos to their teachers for coming up with these projects!

As with any holiday, I try not to get too hung up on the actual day itself. I’m all about “extended celebrations” like my mother’s day weekend because there’s always something surprising or sweet that seems to happen each and every day with kids.  They are my life’s greatest blessing. How honored I am to share this crazy beautiful life with them!

How was your Mother’s Day?  Hope it was happy and full of great moments!

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The SLOW Transition to Spring: Hope and Despair in Pictures

A recent post called Hope and despair in pictures from A Thing About Joan truly resonated with me.  March is a crazy, unpredictable time of year in the Midwest in general and in Wisconsin specifically.  We’re used to snowstorms or a light dusting of snow (like today) or beautiful 50 degree days that we experienced just a few days ago. This leads to a lot of melting of the now ugly gray-brown snow. Long gone are the days of the first white snows that stick to trees when we are all moved to say, “But it looks so pretty.”

As a family we LOVE getting outside on these first warm-ish, above freezing days. Daddy O. and I even walked to a nearby restaurant on Friday night for a fish fry date night with two other fun couples. It was so nice! Earlier that day my kids had fun riding big wheels and bikes:

riding bikes by the snowbanks

Image of HOPE – first nice day of March 2014

An even better image of hope was the reprieve from Wisconsin Winter that Daddy O. and I enjoyed on our Kid-free Fun in Phoenix Trip.

Striking views of Chihuly exhibit and scenes of Phoenix, Arizona.

Image of Hope – SUNSHINE and Striking views of Chihuly exhibit and scenes of Phoenix, Arizona.

Images of despair from winter are probably best captured when I discovered that our indoor weather station DOES display negative temperatures, though I was a bit confused by this display:

Image of despair: looking at my weather station during the polar

Image of despair: looking at my weather station during the polar vortex

I guess I have HOPE that today is only in the 20’s, although I am bummed to be dealing with hopefully the final head cold of winter.  I decided to spare you the image of my red-Rudolph-ringed nose and wastebaskets full of tissues.

One final image of hope is a recent colorful drawing from big sister. Aren’t we all looking for rainbows and possibly our pot of gold on Saint Patrick’s Day?!

Big Sister's Rainbow drawing

Image of Hope: A Rainbow for St. Patty’s Day

Have a wonderful day! What do your images of Hope and Despair look like? Thanks for the inspiration Joan.  Link back to her awesome blog to share your posts!